Where is it, ma?

Took this photo of Sam first thing this morning before the moving troops arrived. Sam loved all the boxes around the house.
Would you look at this face???
And a smile to die for, all because he got his very own bag of mini-muffins. What a sweetie...
Props go out to our moving troops today. We had great help! My brother Will and his wife Jill, my SIL Chris and niece Morgan and nephew Cole, Dan's mom and dad, our good friend Brent, and my brother Scott came when he got off work! We worked 9-5, what a way to make a livin.
We moved almost all of our stuff and even unpacked and put away the entire kitchen, my china cabinet, the living room, and Sam & Joe's room! We are staying our last couple of nights at our current home (Sam's first US home) until we get the plumbing finalized on Monday.
Really special thanks to my niece Blake who watched Sam and my niece and nephew Jaelyn and Drew for the second day in a row. Pretty sure she won't sign up for that again real soon. She did soooooooo well with them.
After we picked up Sam and we came home to a very empty house - he first said, I lub (love) it, then said Is it,ma? Is it? (Where is it?) as he walked from empty room to empty room. He finally settled in front of the dryer, stooped down, opened the door and peered inside as if we had stuffed our life's belongings into the small dryer drum. I laughed so hard that Dan could hear me over the shower he was taking.
It is exciting to move into our forever home and busily prepare it for Joe's arrival. Thanks so much to our friends and family who gave up their day to help us settle in...couldn't have done it without you!


We are moving!!

Weather permitting, we are moving this weekend! We worked on cleaning the floors today and had great help from a generous carpet cleaner, Neil. He helped us clean not only the carpet, but the tile and the pergo too! What a relief. We need to hook up plumbing and some duct work for heat, otherwise - the time has come! We have some help rounded up for Saturday, so that's when we will move the majority of our stuff (there's a lot!).

Other great news, we sold our current home, too! We got an offer on Tues and negotiated a deal by Wednesday! Thank goodness for answered prayer....


Joe's Got PA!!!!!

We've got PA from the US embassy! We got the email today! 59 days and counting.
Next step: Submission to PGN as soon as it opens again....
Yeah, Joe!


Great Aunt Clara's Cookie

Sam was sent a yummy cookie from his Great Aunt Clara this weekend. Dan's Aunt Clara (Caedmon and Kaiya's grandma) makes the best treats. They are soooo pretty and taste even better. We went to Grandma's today for lunch and she gave Sam the cookie. He almost couldn't wait to get home to eat it. COO-COO, Ma...COO-COO, Ma..all the way home on the 5 mile drive from Grandma's. We got home and Sam ate his Coo-Coo and drank some Nok - must have done the boy good his is napping soundly right now!
1st bite
This is Sam saying Y-U-M!
2nd bite
Y-U-M again...I guess I thought it was so cute I would post this photo twice???
Sam loved his cookie - thanks to Aunt Clara - sorry we didn't really do it justice, it was very pretty before Sam got ahold of it!


A little "Joe"

I am sitting here drinking a cup of "joe" and thinking about my little Joe. That makes me like coffee even more!
Here is the latest on our case: we have exited Family Court (yeah) and are waiting on PA from the US. This means that the US needs to review our case with DNA match (issued 12/19/07) and decide that we can Joe to the US. Now standard time to US approval is 60 days from DNA issue - that would be 2/19...you better believe I am counting and watching. Why 60 days? I think it has to bake on someone's desk for 57 days at which time they decide to check on it...No really, I understand they are checking out the legality of the documents.

The following the step is in Guatemala, PGN. The is the legal part of Guatemalan adoptions. As of today, PGN is closed, but is set to open sometime this week! Now, we need to have PA before we are submitted. If we are submitted prior to PA then we will have an automatic kickout. The KO's are what delayed us with Sam's case. We were in PGN from May - Aug with Sam's case. Here our ideal order right now - PA from the US, submisson into PGN and then 3 case reviewers who forgot to drink their "Joe" (they do have really strong coffee in Guatemala), or that have a big heart so that my Joe can come home!
We got new measurements yesterday and his is growing well. He has gained right at 2lbs every month since birth - He weighs 15lbs 10oz- he is a petite little man, fine with me - as long as he is healthy!

My eyes long to see him, my arms to hold him, and my heart to beat next to his!


More Valentine's Day Fun

Every year our church has a Valentine Dinner. Dan and I usually try to go every year, this probably dates back to when we went one of our 1st official dates 14 years ago. He asked me to the Valentine's Dinner at his church in 1994! Anyway, last night was no different, we attended and had a good time. The youth hosted the dinner and the theme was famous couples...you say we didn't dress up? I beg to differ, if you look close our name tags say it all.
Peanut Butter and Jelly!
Sam cheesing for the camera with his Valentine's Duckies.
He brought them to me and said - swim, ma, swim. So we got out a tub of water and he played with them at the kitchen table for a good little while. Then, as I was ready the paper, I look up to see him coming into the living room...bowl and ducks in hand with water sloshing out the sides. I thanked him and took them back into the kitchen.
Sam showing me his Thomas the Train pieces - Neville; rubber ducks from Kia (long story), chewies and nok.
Back to the Vtine banquet (trouble posting pics in order):BIL and SIL, Darrin and Shannon, as Bonnie and Clyde - they won the grand prize!
My neice, Blake and her friend Hillary at the banquet. Blake is "dating" a boy that goes to our church - he waited on our table - how funny. We had a lot of fun!

Happy Valentine's Day All!

And happy v'tines to me from my BFF, Nakia. She brought me this candy filled heart the other day - so cute. I love her because:

1. She let's me poke fun of her hometown.
2. She is brutally honest.
3. We love the 80's and recite words from songs, tv shows, etc.
4. We keep a running list of the things that have made us laugh so hard we could pee our pants.
5. She loves to hear stories about Sam.
6. She has a beautiful daughter that is the spitting image of her (looks and actions!!)
7. We work together almost everyday and can still stand to be around each other
8. She is one of my right hand (wo)men, without her work could be torture!
9. I can tell her anything with no judgement - she even knows how much I weigh. (yikes!!!!)
10. Although, we have known each other for 5 years, it seems like a lifetime.

Here's to you Kia. Happy Valentine's Day.


Isaiah 65:24

I received this email from my Aunt Polly and I love it, it reminds me of Gretchen's story (gFamily) of how her son's class prayed for their daughter to come home from Guatemala and she found out that they had completed the last step of the adoption process the very same day. Read on, you will be blessed.

Isaiah 65:24 'Before they call, I will answer'

This story was written by a doctor who worked in South Africa . One night I had worked hard to help a mother in the labor ward; but inspite of all we could do, she died leaving us with a tiny premature babyand a crying two-year-old daughter. We would have difficulty keeping thebaby alive; as we had no incubator (we had no electricity to run anincubator). We also had no special feeding facilities. Although we lived on theequator, nights were often chilly with treacherous drafts. One studentmidwife went for the box we had for such babies and the cotton wool thatthe baby would be wrapped in. Another went to stoke up the fire and fill a hot water bottle. She cameback shortly in distress to tell me that in filling the bottle, it hadburst (rubber perishes easily in tropical climates). 'And it is our lasthot water bottle!' she exclaimed. As in the West, it is no good cryingover spilled milk so in Central Africa it might be considered no goodcrying over burst water bottles. They do not grow on trees, and thereare no drugstores down forest pathways. 'All right,' I said, 'put the baby as near the fire as you safely can,and sleep between the baby and the door to keep it free from drafts.Your job is to keep the baby warm.'

The following noon, as I did most days, I went to have prayers with anyof the orphanage children who chose to gather with me. I gave theyoungsters various suggestions of things to pray about and told themabout the tiny baby. I explained our problem about keeping the baby warmenough, mentioning the hot water bottle, and that the baby could soeasily die if it got chills. I also told them of the two-year-oldsister, crying because her mother had died. During prayer time, one ten-year old girl, Ruth, prayed with the usualblunt conciseness of our African children. 'Please, God' she prayed,'send us a water bottle. It'll be no good tomorrow, God, as the babywill be dead, so please send it this afternoon.' While I gasped inwardly at the audacity of the prayer, she added, 'Andwhile you are about it, would You please send a dolly for the littlegirl so she'll know You really love her?' As often with children's prayers, I was put on the spot. Could Ihonestly say, 'Amen'? I just did not believe that God could do this.Oh, yes, I know that He can do everything, the Bible says so. Butthere are limits, aren't there?

The only way God could answer thisparticular prayer would be by sending me a parcel from homeland. I hadbeen in Africa for almost four years at that time, and I had never, everreceived a parcel from home. Anyway, if anyone did send me a parcel, whowould put in a hot water bottle? I lived on the equator!

Halfwaythrough the afternoon, while I was teaching in the nurses' trainingschool, a message was sent that there was a car at my front door. By the time I reached home, the car had gone, but there, on the veranda,was a large twenty-two pound parcel. I felt tears pricking my eyes. Icould not open the parcel alone, so I sent for the orphanage children. Together we pulled off the string, carefully undoing each knot. Wefolded the paper, taking care not to tear it unduly. Excitement wasmounting. Some thirty or forty pairs of eyes were focused on the largecardboard box. From the top, I lifted out brightly colored, knittedjerseys. Eyes sparkled as I gave them out. Then there were the knittedbandages for the leprosy patients, and the children looked a littlebored. Then came a box of mixed raisins and sultanas that would make abatch of buns for the weekend Then, as I put my hand in again, I feltthe.....could it really be? I grasped it and pulled it out - yes, abrand new, rubber hot water bottle. I cried. I had not asked God tosend it; I had not truly believed that He could. Ruth was in the frontrow of the children. She rushed forward, crying out, 'If God has sentthe bottle, He must have sent the dolly too!' Rummaging down to the bottom of the box, she pulled out the small,beautifully dressed dolly. Her eyes shone! She had never doubted! Looking up at me, she asked: 'Can I go over with you and give this dollyto that little girl, so she'll know that Jesus really loves her?'

That parcel had been on the way for five whole months. Packed up by myformer Sunday school class, whose leader had heard and obeyed God'sprompting to send a hot water bottle, even to the equator. And one ofthe girls had put in a dolly for an African child - five months before,in answer to the believing prayer of a ten-year-old to bring it 'thatafternoon.' 'Before they call, I will answer' (Isaiah 65:24)

This awesome prayertakes less than a minute. When you receive this, say the prayer, that'sall you have to do. No strings attached. Just send it on to whomever youwant - but do send it on. Prayer is one of the best free gifts wereceive. There is no cost but a lot of rewards.

Let's continue praying for one another... Father, I ask you to bless myfriends reading this right now. I am asking You to minister to theirspirit at this very moment. Where there is pain, give them Your peaceand mercy. Where there is self doubt, release a renewed confidence towork through them. Where there is spiritual stagnation, I ask You torenew them by revealing Your nearness, and by drawing them into greaterintimacy with You. Where there is fear, reveal Your love, and releaseto them Your courage. Bless their finances, give them greater vision,and raise up leaders and friends to support and encourage them. Giveeach of them discernment to recognize the evil forces around them, andreveal to them the power they have in You to defeat it. I ask you todo these things in Jesus' name.


Drew turns Two!

Happy Birthday to Sam's cousin Drew! He turned 2 today. We had a pizza party and yummy cake with Cars party hats. Of course, Drew got lots of nice toys, but what always wins out? The big empty box!
Drew in his new "Man" shirt. This is what he calls Spiderman. It is soooo cute that I got him a gift bag of Man stuff - he loved the shirt!
Sam enjoying Drew's cake and ice cream.
Sam actually is telling me that Drew is two, he says it but he still puts up one finger - hee hee!
Drew and big sister Jaelyn with their party hats. Jaelyn was so pretty tonight. She changed her dress 2 times for the party. She danced around and also sang on the Playstation Karoke to High School Musical for us!


Look What Came Today!!!!

Our new cabinets were installed today! I got to the house pretty late and we don't have all the electrical hooked up yet, so the photos are a little dark, but I love these cabinets. Dan knows the cabinet makers pretty well, Rich and Dave. They did an awesome job understanding what we wanted and made it a reality! They also brought the bathroom vanities, we will install those in a few days after the tile is done! Ahhhh, progress!
PS.. DH and his dad laid the pergo floor, it looks great, too - he worked hard on it to finish it up before the cabinets came and we love it!


Happy 6 months, Baby Joe!!

We love you precious man. We cannot wait until you are in our arms again...until then we pray for you with each passing moment! We sent a couple of new packages to you thru friendly FTIA families - hope you get them soon!


I've been tagged!

I have been tagged by Sandy and Victoria! Go visit Sandy's blog at http://adoptionblessings.blogspot.com. I met Sandy through our adoption agency, FTIA. I reconnected to her because I work with her aunt! Sandy is an awesome mama to her 4 adopted blessings. Evan and Aiden are twins from Russia and Abby and Isabelle are her princesses from Guatemala. You'll love her blog!
Victoria and I met through this wonderful blogging world! Victoria and her husband have 3 bio children, a Saudi son, and are adopting a beautiful girl, Jazlynn from Guatemala. Together they have been a part of raising 40 children! Our timelines for Jazlynn and Joe are very close. Enjoy her blog at http://longbabygirl.blogspot.com.

The rules are to link the person who sent this and leave a comment on their blog so their readers can visit yours~Post the rules on your blog~Share 7 strange/weird facts about yourself~Tag 7 random people at the end of your post and link their blog~Let each person know they've been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

So, I got tagged and thought, no problem...I can come up with some stuff, but 2 days later I was struggling at which time my husband came up with a list - so here goes, straight from his mouth. His comments in blue - my defense in red!
7 crazy facts:
1. The palms of her hands are incredibly wrinkly.
?????? No defense, he is right...what do all those lines mean anyway - anyone a palm reader?
2. Her senior prom dress cost more than her wedding dress.
Yes, I was with my husband for both....
3. Loves to drink coffee, but hates to be known as a coffee drinker
What can I say? My jr. high math teacher always had coffee in his moustache...
4. Hates to call anyone on the phone.
I am on the phone allllll day at work - not interested otherwise.
5. Has a cell phone but is rarely reachable on it
Leave me a message - I get back with ya (within a few days)
6. Absolutely cannot walk in and out of CVS with just the one item she went in for.
Please, please, please I hope my boss isn't reading since CVS is the enemy. But, they have
milk for 2.99/gallon. Good deal, eh? It is just that the other "deals" catch my eye, too.
7. Used to be a scrapbooker - now she is a blogger! Never would have guessed.
Me, neither!

Here are my tags:

Sherri (Dan's cousin): http://thebontragerstory.blogspot.com/
Misty (FTIA friend): http://www.journeytobabylyza.blogspot.com/
Mandy (friend from home): http://mandyash.blogspot.com/
Nicole (FTIA friend): http://nikicoli.blogspot.com/
Kimberly (blogger friend): http://kleclercq.blogspot.com/
Becca (blogger friend): http://princessellaruth.blogspot.com/
Nicole (Sam's foster sister's mama): http://isababycakes.blogspot.com/

Happy week everyone!


FFF - January Updates

Just in time for FFF - look what I have!!!! My little man is certainly growing. I love his stylish blue jeans, chubby cheeks, and a scrumptious smile to die for! Happy Friday to us...